THE EDIBLE LIBRARY OF BRUSSELS – BÁRBARA PRADA
25.03 > 06.05.2021
Free entrance – Tuesday > Saturday – 12:00 > 19:00
Ravensteingallery 46 – 1000 Brussels
As part of the forum-exhibition BXL UNIVERSEL II: multipli.city
In the context of the current health crisis, MOUSSEM is fully committed to other forms of presentation. Their office space in the Ravenstein Gallery will be transformed into the Moussem Gallery exhibition space. Bárbara Prada is the first artist MOUSSEM presents in this context.
For Bárbara Prada, food provides not only nutritional substance. It is also a powerful tool for exploring individual and collective identities, cultural interactions, and politics. This credo forms the starting point of her research, that she translates into multi-sensory installations and performative rituals. In doing so, she relies on vernacular knowledge and participatory strategies. Her interests include forgotten recipes and techniques of growing and conserving food; the historical evolution of gastronomy; and the – often symbolic – depiction of food in visual arts and literature.
Her work reflects on historical as well as contemporary (transport and handling) trajectories of specific products, which are inevitably interwoven with the history of colonisation and capitalism. But the core of her practice lies in collecting intimate memories related to food and the rituals surrounding it, which often gain an almost lyrical quality. The food we consume and the experiences that go with it make us who we are. Literally, because food nourishes the cells of our bodies. And metaphorically, since the experience of food shapes almost every aspect of our social lives.
The Edible Library is Bárbara Prada’s latest research project. It is the result of a two-month residency in Brussels and it will culminate in an immersive installation. In a labyrinth of shelves, the artist brings together a selection of local objects and stories related to food, contributed by local producers, bars, restaurants, inhabitants and artists. The installation includes organic ingredients, family recipes, cooking tools, poems, and cookbooks, thus functioning like a map of the ‘collective mind’. It traces the evolution of gastronomy in Brussels before and after the arrival of immigrants, who brought along new ingredients and recipes. In doing so, they enriched the local cuisine.
As a vessel of shared knowledge, the library is never complete. Visitors are invited to write down their own memories, using squid ink on rice paper. They can then choose to either contribute their memories and recipes to the library, expanding its collection, or to offer them to boiling water. These memories and recipes will vanish – only to be reborn again. – Alicja Melzacka
Bárbara Prada is a Peruvian Ecofeminist artist, born in a country of munificent tradition, colored with vibrant flavors and a religious collectivity. Her work and research revolves around the topics of: food, collective memories and performance. She presents food as a shaper of taste, identity, and memory. Her art projects aim to raise public awareness on how food can redefine social ecology, the reality we live in and the universal history of the past, present and future generations.The common ingredient that spices her body of work is the urge to generate melancholy, detachment and balance. It shows the beauty and the painful landscape originated from human, non human and artificial life. Past artistic projects include: The Memory Shop, The Mummification ritual and The Recapitulation space.
A MOUSSEM production supported by: VGC & Koning Boudewijnstichting